Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Bible, Old Testament, Books, Psalms, Book of Mormon Books, 2 Nephi, Nephi's Psalm, Book of Mormon, Language, Book of Mormon as Literature


Identifying the poetic forms in the Book of Mormon enables readers to appreciate its beautiful literary style and gain a better understanding of its message. The form-critical analysis of psalms, first outlined by Hermann Gunkel in 1926, demonstrates sharp similarities between Nephi’s psalm and similar psalms in the Old Testament. Nephi’s psalm plainly follows the format and substance of the individual lament as described by Gunkel and elaborated by numerous subsequent scholars. As in other instances of Hebrew poetic forms in the Book of Mormon, understanding and appreciating the psalm, more particularly the personal lament, can offer new insights into 2 Nephi 4:16–35 and make its message of hope and trust more powerful and personal.